Archive for March 17th, 2004

A Urinal That’s Hard to Miss

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Even though
they allow for high-volume servicing and back-in-a-flash trips to the
john, the point-and-shoot-a-stinky-deodorizer-cake oddity
known as the men’s
restroom urinal has been, for women, a constant enigma. But nothing will prepare
you for the men’s room in the newly-designed Virgin Airways Clubhouse in New
York’s John F. Kennedy airport, terminal 4: Urinals shaped like a woman’s mouth,
dolled up with red lipstick, wide open and ready for business.

"In anything that we do there has to be a smile, and that;s the smile in this
Clubhouse,"said John Riordan, Vice President of Customer Services for Virgin
Airways.

The urinals, called Kisses, were designed by Netherlands based company Bathroom
Mania.
"Kisses – the sexy urinal, makes a daily event a blushing experience! This is
one target men will never miss!,"said the Bathroom Mania team via e-mail from
the Netherlands.

from Fashion
Wear Daily

VA IT Dir. Stole $40K for Sex and BMW

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Mar 17, 2004 — The Town of Leesburg’s former director of Information
Technology was sentenced this morning to four months in jail for stealing
nearly $40,000 from the town to pay for escort services and to buy high-performance
car parts for his BMW sports car over a period of a year and a half.

Michel Agujia, 38, of Frederick, MD, said in Loudoun Circuit Court that he was
using the Town of Leesburg’s purchase card to pay for sex with escorts because
he was labeled by a therapist as a sexual addict two years after a tumor was
removed from his brain, allowing his hormones to return to a normal level for
a male.

Agujia was sentenced by Loudoun Circuit Court Judge Burke F. McCahill to six
years in prison with all but four months suspended and three years of supervised
probation upon his release. Agujia was convicted on two counts of stealing money
from the town and faced a potential sentence of 40 years in prison.

from Leesburg2day

Scottish Scientists Solve Stout Mystery

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Scientists have shown that the bubbles in a pint of Guinness
really do move down instead of up.

To mark St Patrick’s Day, a team of Scottish and US researchers has
produced video evidence to show the bubbles being dragged to the bottom
of the glass.

An earlier study concluded that the phenomenon may only have been an
optical illusion.
Close examination reveals that as the pint settles, bubbles touching
the walls of the glass experience drag that prevents them floating up.

Bubbles in the centre of the glass, however, are free to rise. A circular
flow is created, causing bubbles at the the edge to be pushed downwards
on the inside surface of the glass.

The effect occurs in any liquid, say the scientists, but the contrast
between the dark stout and its creamy bubbles makes it easier to spot
in Guinness.

The Scottish scientists worked in collaboration with colleagues led by
Professor Dick Zare at the University of Stanford in California.

from Ananova

Blowing Up Illusions on Inflation

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The
Dowbrigade has been smelling something fishy in the Department of Labor
and Office of Management and Budget statistics for a while now. Although
we don’t have an advanced degree in economics, it is obvious to any fool
with half a brain and less than a million dollars to spend that prices
in the US are rising
faster than the officially reported 1.1%. Gasoline
is almost two dollars a gallon, the T just went up 25%, we spend more
at the supermarket every week (when did milk get so expensive?) and the
hidden surcharges and stealth fees in our bills are gutting our budget
every month.

On a related front, unemployment is clearly higher than the officially
reported 5.6%, and calling the govenment’s statistics in this area "misleading"
is being charitable.

Appearantly we are not the only one to notice these discrepancies.  Check
out today’s OP/Ed piece by Robert Knutter, "Statistics
lie on the true cost of living
"…

The inflation numbers also fail to capture pocketbook realities for
retired Americans. A low official inflation rate plays a cruel trick
on seniors. For starters, it means that cost-of-living adjustments in
Security Security checks are mere pocket change. One new prescription
can more than eat up this year’s Social Security increase.

Further, a low rate of inflation translates into a low interest rate
on savings accounts, Treasury securities, and other prudent investments
for the elderly. Moreover, older people on fixed incomes who are not
homeowners are also at the mercy of rising rents.

And the same deficiencies in the consumer price index that fail to capture
cost shifting in health care particularly affect the elderly, who spend
a disproportionate share of their income on doctor’s bills, hospital
costs, and drugs.

from the Boston Globe

March Sadness

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Derrick
Z. Jackson
, Boston Globe columnist and indefatigable
crusader against the sham that is "amateur" collegiate sports in this
country, especially football and basketball. The Dowbrigade has
also written about the cruel dream of teen transcendence into professional
sports
, an American version of Ossama’s 47 virgins waiting in paradise,
which has shunted an entire generation of American minority youth onto
a dead-end sidetrack of asphalt and hardwood.

Jackson hits hard again in a web-only
column
posted to the Globe
web site yesterday, and in a follow-up
article
published in the print
edition today:

 

March Madness ought to be canceled with the scandal that is in the computer
banks of the NCAA’s 2003 Graduation Rates Report. The report covers whether
scholarship athletes who entered school in the falls of 1993, 1994, 1995,
or 1996 graduated within six years. The report is the best long-term
way to see whether a university is providing an education to its athletes
or pimping them in an era where CBS is paying the NCAA $6 billion over
11 years to televise men’s games and where an additional $3.5 billion
will be wagered illegally on this year’s tournament alone, according
to the Wall Street Journal.

Last year, 13 men’s schools had a 0% graduation rate for black men.
The average black male graduation rate for the 65-team field was 35
percent.
With the liberation provided by the new privacy rules, only one university
in this year’s field published a black male rate under 38 percent.
That was Eastern Washington, where the rate was zero.

Of the 65 teams in the men’s tournament, 49 published graduation statistics.
Of those 49 schools, the graduation average was 49.7 percent, higher
than the overall NCAA average of 42 percent.

The 37 schools that did not publish 2003 black graduation rates had a
2002 black average of 19.7 percent.

The Knight Commission on college sports proposed that schools that
do not graduate 50 percent of their players should be banned from tournaments
and bowl games. On that basis, you would wipe out more than half of
the
NCAA men’s tournament field.

You get the idea.  This is a scam completely against the spirit
of sports and the avowed principles of equality this country was
founded on. What happens to all of those talented players who spend most
of their youth honing their skills, get used for a few years by some
major college program, and then get dumped back on the street with broken
bodies without a whiff or a hope of a professional career and without
so much as a diploma or any marketable skills? It is starting to make
sense now to see who sponsors all of the High School coronations and
All-American lists – McDonalds is recruiting its next generation of highly
skilled counter help.

Web-only column

Print followup article